Manufacturing of basic metals and fabricated metal products in Croatia

IndustrySouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 5/2006

Croatian chamber of economy,
Industry and technology department

A branch of the manufacturing sector, the manufacture of basic metals and fabricated metal products is further subdivided into the manufacture of basic metals (DJ 27) and the manufacture of fabricated metal products, excluding machinery and equipment (DJ 28). In 2005, the manufacture of basic metals and fabricated metal products accounted for 5.83% of GDP in industrial production, with 11.3% share those working in the manufacturing sector.


The Croatian metal industry includes the manufacture of welded and seamless steel tubes, reinforcing steel, rolled bars, wire fabric, aluminium processing and metal castings. According to figures made available by the Central Bureau of Statistics and the Customs Administration, steel consumption in Croatia amounts to some 500,000 tonnes. The fact is that steel consumption has grown by 30% in the last two years thanks to the increase in output in the construction and shipbuilding sectors. Many steel products are not manufactured in Croatia, e.g. steel sheets, steel sections and similar, which is offset by imports.

The manufacture of fabricated metal products includes the manufacture of metal structures, joinery, containers, radiators, boilers, tools, packaging and containers, screw products, furniture and similar. This branch of industry comprises 1,537 registered companies – 28 large, 107 medium-sized and 1,402 small, which is 15.6% of companies registered in the manufacturing sector.

The manufacture of selected products in the field of basic metals shows an increase in production on 2004 (index: 104.7), and this is also the case with the manufacture of fabricated metal products (index: 109.6). Compared with 2004, employment decreased in the manufacture of both basic metals (index: 99.2) and increased in the manufacture of fabricated metal products (index: 109.6). 2005 saw 19.8% growth of exports in comparison with 2004, but also a growth of imports by 12.4%.

Major efforts are being made to increase competitiveness in international markets. To achieve substantial growth of output in future, it is necessary to boost exports, penetrate new markets, introduce modern technologies and launch new products, and also to connect with manufacturers of machinery and equipment both in the country and internationally.

Investment and development

Much of the basic metal industry is owned by state funds and banks, whereas private ownership dominates the manufacture of fabricated metal products. The development of this manufacturing sector will in all probability bring the establishment of new private small and medium-sized companies. It should also be pointed out that the four machine engineering and three electrical engineering faculties in Croatia (colleges) annually produce some 1000 graduates in the fields of engineering and information technology.

Supported by the technology centres of the engineering faculties at the Universities of Zagreb, Rijeka and Split, these experts have the opportunity to develop attractive, entrepreneurially focused manufacturing programmes. As domestic companies’ financial potential is limited, increased foreign investment of all types is both needed and expected. The number of companies possessing ISO 9000 certificates is growing, which is one of the conditions for co-operation and export to industrially developed countries, and also for establishing subcontractor and strategic partnerships, especially with domestic manufacturers of machines and equipment.